New Workforce Sequence: Anna Waugh & Nikolai Balabardin

Anna Waugh (12) and Nikolai Balabardin (15) are a brand new U.S. intermediate ice dance staff this season. 

Inform us about every of your skating journeys, together with any particular recollections.
Anna Waugh (AW): My first steps on ice was at 17 months outdated. At age 3.5 years outdated I began Be taught to skate. My first competitors was in 2015 , I used to be 4 years outdated. I completed in 2nd place, my mother introduced me large lollipop after this competitors!! To at the present time, I like to compete!

I did freestyle for five years, I made a decision to begin ice dance with associate additionally … in our first competitors we obtained a gold medal. We have been so excited! It was good skating 12 months with a number of medals… and at finish of skating season 2021 we certified for ice dance last and have become Nationwide Growth staff members in Juvenile! We certified for Nationwide Growth Workforce in 2022 as nicely, in intermediate.

Nikolai Balabardin (NB):I began skating once I was 3 years outdated as a result of each of my mother and father are skating coaches and it was simpler to have me on the ice, relatively than simply hold across the enviornment. I landed my first axel at 5rys outdated and at 6yrs outdated, I used to be the pre-juvenile champion of Alberta, Canada. A few of my most particular recollections are assembly and skating with a few of America’s biggest skaters in Solar Valley, Idaho. I’ve shared the ice with Jason Brown, Nathan Chen and Polina Edmonds. I used to be additionally very fortunate to have been invited to dinner with Nathan’s Mother to observe him skate within the Solar Valley Ice Present.

What made you select ice dance?
(AW): My coach Mathew Gates, and likewise my favourite skater- Madison Hubbell.

(NB): I selected to change from freeskate to ice dance as a result of I like the sensation of gliding on the ice. I’ve landed jumps as much as triple salchow, however I at all times most popular when my skates have been on the ice, as a substitute of the air.

Inform us about you and your households. Do you may have siblings? Do in addition they determine skate? Do you may have hobbies?
(AW): I shouldn’t have siblings. Mother likes to skate too and he or she sews all my costumes! My father is a baseball fan, however he’s turned ice dance fan now too!

(NB): My mother and father are each determine skating coaches in Kerrisdale, Vancouver, British Columbia. My Mama is Canadian and my Papa is Russian. They met in Disney on Ice, the place they skated and toured for six years. I’ve an 11yr outdated sister that additionally skates. She is presently skating within the Pre-novice stage.

How and when did your partnership start? (Accomplice Search, coaching mate, and so forth.) Describe the tryout? 
(AW): After we broke up with my outdated ice dance associate, my coach discovered me Nikolai, from Canada. At March this 12 months, after 10 days of attempting out, we determined to skate collectively as a staff. Our journey with Nikolai began 5/17/2023 when he relocated to North Carolina.

(NB): Mathew Gates, our coach, contacted my mother and father by e-mail after seeing my profile on Accomplice Search. My mother and father met Anna’s mother and father on Zoom, and there was an instantaneous connection. Anna’s household was so heat, pleasant, and her Mother may talk simply with my Papa as she is speaks Russian. We organized a time for me to go to North Carolina the place I attempted-out with Anna. I used to be there for about 2 weeks and I actually loved not solely skating with Anna, however the coaching setting and coaches Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky.

What do you already like most about dancing along with your new associate?
(AW): Nikolai is a tough working man, he has superb skating abilities. He likes to skate loads, like me. We each love skating and we get alongside nice!

(NB): I actually loved how we picked up the dance spins and transition actions
rapidly. Anna can also be filled with vitality and is tremendous pleasant. She is simple to get together with and I believe that she is going to assist carry out my enjoyable facet as I’m quieter and extra shy.

What are you every most enthusiastic about for the brand new partnership?
(AW): I’m very excited for the brand new season with Nikolai, excited to progress in new skating abilities and to hopefully impress everybody! We want to qualify for finals and likewise to qualify for Nationwide Growth Workforce!

(NB): I’m most enthusiastic about competing to see how far and nicely we will to collectively.

The place do you practice? (Location, services, dance mates, courses, and so forth.)
(AW): We’re coaching at Excessive Ice Middle, Elite Coaching Workforce, Indian Path, North Carolina. Now we have a mixture of freestyle & ice dancers at our rink. There are presently 7 groups coaching in our staff from pre-juvenile stage as much as Senior – World/Worldwide stage.

(NB): We will likely be coaching on the Elite Skating Academy within the Excessive Ice Middle in
Indian Path, NC. I don’t know many skaters but, however I stay up for assembly all of them quickly.

Describe your coaching schedule. How usually do you skate? Do you additionally go to high school? 
(AW): Favourite topic? We’re skating 6 day every week, 4 hours a day. Additionally, we’re doing ballet, ballroom, energy and conditioning. We additionally assist with Be taught to skate courses at our rink . I’m doing a homeschooling program. My favourite topic is Arithmetic.

(NB): We will likely be skating about 5 to six days per week, and round 4 hours per day, together with on and off-ice coaching. I will likely be doing home-school subsequent 12 months and my favorite topic is French and Bodily and Well being Training.

Do you every have a favourite sample dance? Why?
(AW): My favourite sample dance is Rocker Foxtrot, as a result of I just like the patterns and key factors in it.

(NB): My favourite sample dance is the Argentine Tango as a result of the steps really feel snug and move collectively.

Who’re your coaches? Did both of you or each must relocate? In that case, inform us concerning the transfer(s).
(AW): My principal coach is Mathew Gates, together with Alexandra Zaretsky and Alina Efimova. Nikolai relocated to North Carolina all the best way from Vancouver, Canada.

(NB): My coaches are Mathew Gates and Sasha Zaretsky. I’ve to relocate to North
Carolina from British Columbia, Canada. I really feel nervous to be away from my household for therefore lengthy, however I’m excited to begin my ice dance journey with Anna.

In the event you may have a lesson with any ice dancer previous/current, who wouldn’t it be? Why?
(AW): Madison Hubbell!

(NB): If I may have a lesson with any ice dancer, it might be Shae-Lynn Bourne. She has choreographed a few of my favorite packages and he or she has the superb functionality to create all packages to each sort of music. She additionally appears so filled with vitality, and has fantastic model.

What’s your debut competitors this season?
Our debut competitors was in intermediate stage (sample dances) at Chesapeake open after we skated collectively for about one month. We competed on the Dallas NQS in Texas and completed third.